An apple a day…! (Well, we all know how that ends) It is certainly a self-assured and bold little maxim but one things for sure, apples are well-documented for containing an impressive list of antioxidants and essential nutrients required for good health. These wonderful and versatile fruits are high in fibre and vitamin C, whilst also containing zero fat or cholesterol.
Freshly grated in museli, sauteed with bacon or sausages, or chopped and cooked into breakfast pancakes or muffins, (they also give a fresh note to spicy soups and crisp sweetness to salads), apples are a tasty, nutritious addition to everyday recipes, whether it’s for a weekend brunch with family and friends, or a quick and simple weekday meal. And that’s before we even consider the glorious myriad of freshly baked cakes, strudels, Charlottes and that most beloved of all desserts, apple pie.
I particularly enjoy celebrating apples’ rich bounty during the Autumnal months. All varieties are good to eat raw; the choice depends on your taste, from Bramleys to Granny Smiths at the tart end of the scale, through to Pink Ladies and Jonathons with their balance of acidity and sweetness, to Braeburn and Golden Delicious which are aromatic and juicy – but to some apple-aficionados, a bit insipid because they lack sharpness. If you are buying apples for cooking, select the right type for your purpose: low-sugar apples, such as Bramley, will cook to a puree, whilst higher-sugar varieties will keep their shape much better.
With a busy calendar of seasonal celebration ahead, I have created a fuss-free dessert which is perfect for feeding large numbers, both young and old. Heavenly sweet and salty pecan caramel sauce drizzled over warm and sticky apple rings is an indulgent feast for the senses and an ideal crowd-pleasing comfort blanket for when you’ve been outside in the cold. Add extra flair to this toasty pick-me-up with a creamy spoonful of creme fraiche, which is ideal for cutting through the maple sweetness.
(I am ‘almost’ convinced this will keep the doctor away!)
Maple-roasted apple ‘doughnuts’ with pecan & salted caramel sauce
The salted caramel sauce can be made the up to three days before. Store in the fridge, then gently reheat until smooth before serving.
2-3 large apples, cored and sliced horizontally into about 6 rings (I used Braeburn, but use your favourite variety)
50 – 75ml maple syrup
zest of 1 lemon
50g pecans, roughly chopped
Pecan salted caramel sauce
3 tbsp pecan nut butter (I use Meridian)
75g soft brown sugar
50ml double cream
a pinch of sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 180C, gas 6. Place the apple rings on a baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper (you may need two) Drizzle over the maple syrup, then sprinkle over the lemon zest and chopped pecans. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the apples are soft and caramelised.
2. During cooking, make the salted caramel sauce. Heat all the ingredients together in a pan, stirring until the butters have melted and the sugar has dissolved.
3. Serve the apple slices with a good drizzle of sauce and a lovely dollop of creme fraiche (or vanilla ice-cream if you wish!)
Recipe, styling and photography: Natalie Seldon Instagram: @prettyediblestylist